mys·ti·cism / mistsizm/ noun
1. belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender.
2. belief characterized by self-delusion or dreamy confusion of thought, especially when based on the assumption of occult qualities or mysterious agencies.
Mysticism is a word I rarely use, partly because it’s often misunderstood and partly because it doesn’t seem necessary.
In a way, everything is quite mystical. It’s all quite weird. It’s a mystery that anything is at all.
Looking at definition no. 1 above, the first that comes is that it’s not about beliefs. It’s about seeing what’s here, in immediacy. And a thought may call that union with the divine, although it’s much simpler and more ordinary than that.
Definition no. 1 is the more scholarly definition of mysticsm. It’s how it may seen when seen from the “outside”, by other people. Definition no. 2 is how the word is often used in our culture, and that’s partly why I don’t find it so useful.
I see how the word may be used in three different ways.
(a) In the sense of fantasy, wishful (or fearful) thinking, as definition 2 above.
(2) In the sense of exploring the non-physical world that’s still within content of experience. The astral, soul, openings and glimpses, peak experiences, and more.
(c) In the sense of recognizing and realizing what’s already here. Spirit as all there is. (Whether there is still some identification so it appears as slightly “other”, or the sense of “I” is gone.)
When I use “Mysticism” in this blog, it’s usually when referring to other people who have used the word, and it’s typically in the third meaning.